Electronic Signatures

Electronic signature is a legal concept rather than a technology. An electronic signature is the electronic equivalent of a traditional manual signature placed on a piece of paper. In general, a signature creates binding rights and obligations. A mark or a symbol chosen to represent the signer (i.e., an autograph) is placed on a document to manifest the signer’s intention to be legally bound. The same general requirements apply whether the signature is made with a pen on paper or through an electronic process. Because the legal requirements for a signature are very general, there is an almost limitless number of ways by which to create a signature, including many different technological processes. This entry examines how electronic signatures have evolved, especially since the 1990s, ...

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